The Unusual Morning Routines to be Executively Successful

Whether you wake up naturally or need a drill sergeant to get you moving in the morning, we’ve collected some novel daybreak routine ideas that will set you up for a successful day. We’re bypassing the  – set an alarm – stretch – eat a high fiber breakfast – basics for a more strategic approach to your executive morning routine.  


Gift yourself extra hours


We could all use extra time. We’re usually pretty good at adding the wee small hours to the end of our day, but less enthusiastic about waking up for them. This is a mistake as science correlates success with early risers.  Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, and CEO giants like Tim Armstrong, Indra Nooyi and Mary Barra are all examples of early birds who have caught more than their share of proverbial worms. They know how to be successful. To have a killer morning routine you need to ditch the mentality that waking up ten minutes before jumping in the car is acceptable and invest in yourself via the a.m. hours.


Start the day right


Give yourself a short break in the morning. Once you’re up, give yourself some time before you immediately start replying to other people’s needs. Learn to start the day with action rather than re-action by focusing first on your to-do list. Yes, you need to check emails, but not the second you roll out of bed. Stephen R. Covey, in his timeless guide to being a highly effective person, tells us to start with the end in mind. A clear understanding of your destination means you’re always taking steps in the right direction and there is no better time to focus on that overarching goal and hone in on the journey of the day ahead than in the morning.


Ask yourself questions in the morning


Start your morning routine with a question. In 2005 in his commencement address, Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates to ask themselves one simple question everyday before the day started:

If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”

If the answer is ‘no’ for too many days in a row, you know you need to change something. Another man whose morning routine began with a question is Benjamin Franklin. He started by asking:

What good shall I do this day?”

This kind of routine questioning allows us to focus on the bigger picture within our lives, but it also boosts motivation, reminds you why you are in the job you’re in and will help keep you on task through the day.


Keep the small decisions simple


People in leadership roles have to make endless decisions on a daily if not hourly basis, which can lead to decision making fatigue. To avoid burn out, donning a daily uniform can save you time in the a.m. and brain space later on. Barak Obama, Mark Zukerberg and Albert Einstein all pared their wardrobes down to the extreme so they could focus on the decisions that really mattered.  


Tailor your routine


Those precious morning hours are not to be squandered. There is no set morning routine that works as a one size fits all answer to being successful, so you have to find what works for you. Exercise is the choice of many whether that’s a swift jog around the local area, or some deep breaths in your living room. Other people read a source of entertainment, catch up on current affairs or write their morning pages to get their brain juices flowing. You might take the time to call relatives, snuggle in bed with your spouse or help your children with their homework. All these activities increase your oxytocin levels and improve your relationship with yourself or those around you, which ultimately makes you more successful at work as well.
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